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ders: but it is well known, that, as the
themselves lookers-on till our victories began to break the ballance: then the king of France, like a wise prince, was resolved to support the beaten side, and would no inore let the power of the sea, than we ought the monarchy of Europe, to fall into one hand. In pursuance of this he took part with the Dutch, and in a little time made hiinself umpire of the peace between
-Another writer of the serves, that " after several propositions of leagues, and many arts used to raise jealousies between us and the Hollanders (dreading nothing more than a durable and firm friendship between two nations, who, if united, might easily set what bounds they pleased to their ambition), they at last sided with the Dutch, though with no other intention than to see us destroy each other; or, at least, so far weaken and exhaust ourselves, that they might with less opposition invade their neighbours and increase their naval strength: bay, their policy went further; and in the very heat of the war they still kept negotiations on foot, and made dvertures and proposals of peace by means of the late queen mother: whom in the end they deceived so far, as to assure her (and by her his majesty), that the Dutch would set no fleet out (that summer the peace was concluded), whilst underhand they pressed the Dutch, with all the vigour and earnestness imaginable, to fit out their ships, with a promise of joining theirs to them. Upon this parole of the French court, 'tis too well known, we had no fleet out, as well as what followed upon it when the Dutch, meeting with no opposition, entered into the river of Chatham; so that
• Halifax's Miscellapies, p. 141.
former was advantageous to France, by
though the French had no other hand in it, they had been still the true cause of that unhappy accident: but, withal, it is more than probable they were themselves the authors of that counsel; and most certain it is they knew of the design before the attempt was made a."
-Such were the sentiments of the most intelligent Englishmen on this affair. The Dutch-many of them- reasoned in the same manner.others," says Sir William Temple, speaking of the Hollanders," that lay the war upon the conduct of France, by which, they say, we were engaged in it: that the present king was resolved to pursue the old scheme laid by cardinal Richlieu, of extending the bounds of France to the Rhine; for which ends, the conquest of Lorrain and Flanders was to be first atchieved. That the purchase of Dunkirk from us was so violently pursued for this end, without which they could not well begin a war upon Flanders. That after this, they had endeavoured to engage the present ministry in Holland to renew the measures once taken, in cardinal Richlieu's time, for dividing Flanders between France and Holland: but not succeeding in it, they had turned all their intrigues to engage us in a war, which might make room for their invasion of Flanders; whilst the two neighbours, most concerned in its defence, should be deep in a quarrel between themselves. That they made both parties believe they would assist them, if there were occasion; and would certainly have done it. That as they took part with Holland upon our first successes at sea, and the bishop of Munster's treaty; so, if the successes had been great on the Dutch
56. There are
* State Tracts, vol. I, p. 8,
'weakening the powers most capable of,
side, they would have assisted us in order to prolong the war a.” This is pretty true, I believe. From D'Estrades' negotiations at this period, in Holland, it appears, that the king of France was meditating bis seizure of Flanders: that the pulse of De Witt was felt on that head: that, to render him and the States General favourable to this design, great professions of friendship were made to them that when the differences between them and the English terminated in a war, Lewis long balanced on which side to declare. It inoreover appears, that the said monarch was not very well affected to the Dutch; but that, to hinder their total overthrow, and the aggrandisement of the English thereby, he at length pretended to give them the assistance which, by a former treaty, they had a right to claim. Of this declaration in their favour he, howi ever, determined to avail himself. He got ships of war built for him in Holland at a cheap rate: he supplied himself from thence with military stores and am. munition: in a word, he now laid the foundation of that naval force whieh we have had so much trouble to destroy. But the Dutch reaped little advantage on their side by his coming into the war: the French kept themselves out of harm's way, on various pretence; and refused to aid their ally in the most imminent danger. :: D’Estrades, in a letter to the king, Aug. 5, 1666, says, “ The letter Monsieur Van Beuningen wrote this post to the Sieur De Witt, makes him very chagrin. It contains, that he had spoken to your majesty, in the name of the states, to demand twelve fireships, and to
Temple's Works, vol. I. p. 309.
and most interested in, opposing her ambi
raise some seamen in your majesty's maritime towns to put aboard the fleet in the room of soldiers, of whom they have enough, which your majesty have received. That he afterwards demanded the two fireships that are of Denmark, and very near their fleet which is in sight of the English, and could not obtain them : that the next day he wrote to Monsieur De Lionne, in very pressing terms; to desire him to back his demand of the two fireships with the king; to which he received no answer: that being thus refused, he could not but be mightily concerned to find his masters exposed to maintain by their arms alone the war against the enemy, who had made so great an effort : that they might judge, by that, whether they ought to expect to be joined by your majesty's fleet, since two useless fireships, six leagues from the place where the combat was to be, were refused : that he was amazed to find their interests were so little considered in France, as to let occasions slip of pulling down the common enemy.
-That, reflecting on these things, he thought it was for his masters interests, and that he was bound in duty to give them notice of it, that they might take their measures before they were undone a.”- -Indeed the whole conduct of France (who did nothing for the
Dutch, setting aside the troops sent to their aid against • the bishop of Munster, for which she was fully paid) excited no sentiments in her favour in the minds of the people of Holland. This we may fully learn from D'Estrades letter to the king, dated, March 31, 1667; in which, among other things, he writes as followeth ;
“. That which gives me the most trouble is, to find
* Letters and Negotiations, vol. II. p. 560. &vo. Lond. 1711.
tious views ; so the other was but of a very
the people in general so inclined to receive wrong impressions of France and the present government. No endeavours have been wanting to set thein right in that particular, and if they were capable of judging their own interest, the reasons contained in jesty's letter would be sufficient to undeceive them. But they are so obstinately blind, and so foolish, as "to believe your majesty's principal design is to watch your opportunity, and conquer them as soon as you have made sure of Flanders. It is not M. De Witt, nor the men of sense among the States that believe this; but the generality of the people, and the magistrates in the particular towns, whose ordinary conversation runs upon nothing else. I am daily endeavouring to silence these false reasoners with arguments the most solid and effective; such as, the many obligations your majesty has conferred upon the states; the auxiliary troops sent into Holland; the peace with the bishop of Munster; the rupture with England; the great expences your majesty had been at; and the diligence used to have a fleet at sea able to assist them powerfully this campaign. To this I added, that their apprehensions were no better than ill-grounded conceptions and real falshoods; but that my allegations were true in fact, and that they enjoyed the effects of them for these twelve months pasta."--It was not long, ' however, before De Witt talked to the ambassador hiinself in the same strain." I have been,” says D'Estrades, in his letter to his master, dated May 19, 1667, “ with M. De Witt.-He told me, he was mightily surprized to understand your 'majesty was
* Letters and Negotiations, vol. III. p. 90.8vo. Lond. 1711.